Ghana hosted and beat Angola 1-0 in third game of the 2023 AFCON Qualifiers at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium as Chris Hughton begins his Black Stars managerial role in brighter fashion. 

Though the game was so close, second half substitute Antoine Semenyo gave Ghana the only goal of the game in stoppage time. The game was played at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium the home grounds of Ghana Premier League record holders Asante Kotoko.

The match venue hold big connotation about Ghana football and the local game always comes in mind whenever the stadium is mentioned.

The choice of the venue for Black Stars clash with Angola was to attract numerous supporters, and the expectation was much fulfilled in a packed atmosphere.

Chris Hughton spoke ahead of the game sharing his passionate for the local game- a goal held by the Ghana Football Association as well.

“What I can tell you is that since I got involved with the association (GFA) about a year ago, I realized how important the local game is to the association as a coaching staff.

“I am aware of this, and in my tenure as a coaching staff, we have had a few players who have been part of the team [Danlad Ibrahim of Asante Kotoko and Daniel Afriyie Barnieh, then of Hearts of Oak] of our local game.

“So, I certainly won’t underestimate it. But I think where I can add some value in my new role is that I will spend more time in Ghana. I will watch more games, attend more club games to get to know the league much better than, perhaps, I was given the opportunity before.

“Certainly, in my new role as head coach, I will be very attentive, not only to the players who are doing well, but also to the game here in general because I think it’s important for the national team to have a good domestic league and I will give my best to make sure I see as much soccer here as possible.

“If I look at the amount of talent we have, potentially I could have brought in another 25 new players who have not been involved during my period of time, but we have to have some consistency in the team.”

The Ghana Premier League has degraded over the years failing to produce teams to excel in CAF inter club competitions. In early 2000s, the league was able to produce teams that are able to play in finals of CAF  competitions.

A notable occasion is when Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak played in the first ever final of the CAF Confederation Cup, Hearts lifted the title on penalties.

In recent times, the GAF has up its game to bring back the lost level of the Ghana Premier League, Division One League, Women’s League and further lower tier competitions.

A long term television rights has been secured to attract supporters. More efforts are being made to improve other disadvantaged aspect like sponsorship though they are yet to find a lucrative headline sponsors.

The Ghana Premier League that was once on the same level with the South African top flight falls behind leagues of countries Nigeria, Sudan, Mali and South Africa.